Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Challenge #6- Mummy Dogs

As part of my Fall Cooking Challenge, I have a Halloween recipe for your Oct 31. To be honest, I was a bit worried about how this recipe would turn out. It is more geared towards kids, but we both really liked it! It is pretty simple to make, too!

There are several websites with variations of this, but this is the one I used: source [just minus the cheese]

Mummy Dogs
-1 pkg of hot dogs [we used turkey dogs]
-1 pkg Crescents dinner rolls [we used the generic reduced fat and no issues]

-Heat oven 375 F
-For crescent rolls, unroll the dough and separate it at perforations to create 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal the dough
-With knife or pizza cutter, cut each rectangle into 10 pieces, for a total of 40 pieces
-Dry hot dogs with a paper towel.
-Wrap 4 pieces of dough around each hot dog to look like bandages, stretching if needed. You can separate the bandages at 1/2 inch from one end of hot dog to make a face
-Place wrapped hot dogs on ungreased (or foil lined) cookie sheet and bake for 13-17 minutes, until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot.

I definitely recommend drying the hot dogs so the dough sticks to it. Both Matt & I enjoyed making and eating them, so I even if you don't have kids, try it!

Cutting the dough with the pizza cutter 
One mummy!

Before being baked

After being baked! Yum!
These are a fun, quick, and easy recipe. Add some ketchup for dipping (or mustard), fruit/veggies, and you got yourself a nice Halloween meal!

Friday, October 28, 2011

One of the benefits to marrying an engineer

Matt & I chose not to have cable at our apartment. First, we don't watch that much TV to begin with. Two, it's ridiculously over-priced. Instead, we have this nice little box called a Roku, which streams things like Netflix and Amazon Instant View. 

We ended up purchasing an antenna so we can get the main channels like ABC, CBS, and Fox. Gotta watch football and the World Series, right? 


Anyway, in order to receive signal, this futuristic-looking device can be tricky to position. We have had it on top of the desk, on top of books, on top of dressers, etc. We live relatively close to a large airport, so I'm sure that doesn't help matters. Our last solution worked pretty well though, and I am quite proud of my engineer for what he devised. 

Yes, that is aluminum foil on the back of our kitchen chairs

He managed to angle everything just so in order to get the perfect picture and sound. Before the aluminum foil, Matt had to either be standing behind that chair the receiver is sitting on or not in the room for it to work. The foil blocks and reflects (AKA Magic Physics Things) the signals so that it works. 

What's funny is that it worked perfectly on Monday for the World Series. We turn it on Tuesday, and it didn't work at all. Nothing. The same set up, same positioning, nada. It is apparently a very finicky little receiver. 

Anyway, that is one of the many reasons why you should marry an engineer. They understand Magic Physics Things. That can get you quite far in life, my friend, such as TV signal!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Challenge #5- Apple-Spinach Chicken

What, is that title right? A recipe with no pumpkin? Yes, it is correct. My  number five recipe in my Fall Cooking Challenge is really good, too. Everything I like in a recipe: yummy, simple, and healthy! I highly recommend it!

Source of image and recipe
Apple-Spinach Chicken
Adapted from here

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 Tablespoon spicy brown mustard We're not big mustard people, so I used 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce + dash of cumin
1/2 cup apple cider
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
6 cups fresh baby spinach or chopped Swiss chard


1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, and add to skillet. Cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until well-browned. Remove to plate. Cover and keep warm.
2. Add garlic, mustard, cider and apples to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, stirring often, 5 minutes. Return chicken and juices to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes.
3. Add spinach to pan, and toss until wilted, about 1 minute. Serve hot.
Browning the chicken

Cooking apples and the sauce

After adding the chicken and letting it finish cooking

After adding the baby spinach

We will definitely be making this again! I think next time I'll cut the chicken breasts in half so they cook faster, but that would be my only modification. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Air Show!

This past Saturday, Matt & I went to the Ft Worth air show, featuring our favorites, the Thunderbirds! I guess this is one solid example of how Matt has impacted me-- how excited I was to see all the planes and I was even able to identify some of the military aircraft. Anyway... we had an amazing time (even though we forgot sunscreen and as a result sorta look like raccoons)! 

Heads up, this is a picture heavy post :)

Our awesome VIP section

Matt is so happy to be back with the Thunderbirds!

Looking at the EA-18

V-22 Osprey


Had to take a picture with the German WWII fighter

Coast Guard rescue helicopter-- they did a pretty cool demo that  I have a few pictures of later on

Explosive Ordinal Disposal Suit-- we talked to the operator of this-- very cool guy. The suit weighs about 80 lbs! 

The EOD robot


Part of the Coast Guard rescue demo

Yes, that is a guy repelling down out of the helicopter over the runway. He picked up his 'rescuee' and then they repelled back up! 

Orbis- Flying Eye Medical Hospital. They go into developing countries for 3 weeks where they teach the local doctors how to perform eye surgeries. That plane has a classroom, an OR, and a recovery room. Quite impressive!

And one of the few pictures I took of the Thunderbird show! 
We are so glad we got to go, especially because the next day they had to cancel the show due to weather! If you want to see more demo pics, go to this blog post

Monday, October 24, 2011

A change of sorts

This is a little late in coming, but I blame grad school. 

In response to my self-declared social media fast, I had various reactions and thoughts. Things definitely changed, not so much my plan for my life, it's still unknown. Instead, my thoughts changed regarding social networking changed.

I know I don't have the most popular blog, and I'm always happy when I have 3 comments. I know more than 3 people read this blog, just most never tell me. No emails, messages, comments, etc. The purpose of this blog is to share what's going on with my life, especially with those I care about but I don't get to see as often as I would like. I like that I've gotten to know people through this blog that aren't in my 'real' world, don't get me wrong. But, I got to a point where I became fixated on getting more followers and was sad when that number dropped inexplicably. 

What's weird to think about is how I don't really know who reads this blog. I know strangers do, but that's not what bothers me. It's my friends, family, and acquaintances that read it but just don't tell me. It makes it difficult to write when I'm not sure who my audience is. Do you, the reader, like what I'm writing? Or do I sound like a blathering idiot who has no clue what she's talking about? Feedback is good. It starts a conversation. 

I'm a social person, as we all are. I thrive off of good conversations with good friends, and one of the hardest things about moving is losing all that. Matt is my best friend, but a girl still needs her girl friends. 

My parents (hi Mom and Dad!) talk about how lucky my generation is to have the internet for things like Facebook so we can keep in touch with former classmates. But sometimes I'm not so sure. It can turn into this weird stalking relationship where no real communication is taking place. Instead, I look at so-and-so's pictures, read their status updates, and I think I know what's going in their life. People do the same with me (theoretically). But that's not really knowing someone. 

I think Facebook and the like is an easy way for us to fulfill our needs to be connected with the people around us without the responsibilities of having a relationship. Yes, it does allow for you to have messages back and forth with people, but I know the majority of my time on these sites is not spent messaging people. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. It is a site I wish I could not belong to, but unfortunately some of my organizations use it to communicate so that's not really an option. 

Instead, I think my solution is to cut back severely. I'll still get on it, but just limit my time thanks to a handy little Chrome Add-On. 

As for this blog, it's going to change a little bit, too. I made an email address you can use to contact me. PLEASE no negativity/spam, etc. As I know not everyone as a google account, you can't all comment. Instead, if you have thoughts feel free to email me at littlebitofeverything.jessica[at]gmail[dot]com

It's long, I know, but copy and paste is a magical thing.  

I know social media can be a good thing, it can connect people all over the world to each other, provide a convenient way to learn, trade ideas, and get to know each other. However, I think that as the lazy human beings we are, we instead passively scroll through someone's page instead of actively typing a message.  

So, do you agree or disagree? I'm interested in your thoughts on this.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall Challenge #4- Pumpkin Cookies

The dessert recipe for the week was these amazing low-fat, low-calorie (42!) pumpkin cookies. These are amazing and taste more like little muffins. They are incredibly moist, do not require any butter or eggs, and do they smell good!! 

Original source

Skinny Pumpkin Cookies
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon of almond extract (you can use vanilla if you prefer)
1 cup of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie  mix)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Cream sugars, applesauce, pumpkin and almond extract together.

In another bowl, mix flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spice. Once mixed, add to the wet ingredients.
Form little blobs and bake for 15 – 18 minutes, or until browned.

Incredibly easy and incredibly delicious! Ok, here are the pictures.

Can you tell I like my red spoon?

Let me tell you, these pictures are difficult!
Dough is all done!
So good!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Challenge #3- Irish Beef Stew

In the third week of my cooking experience, I had scheduled some delicious Irish Beef Stew! And let me tell you, it's delicious! I'm not typically a big stew person, but this tastes really good and I like all the veggies in it, too.

Find the original recipe here

Irish Beef Stew
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons flour
1lb beef stew meat or diced beef
1 small onion (chopped)
2 large potatoes (peeled and diced)
4 carrots (peeled and sliced)
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
6 garlic cloves (minced)
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
1 (12 ounce) bottle Irish stout beer
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
¼ cup fresh parsley (minced)----I used dried instead- it's what I had on hand

Step 1: In a large pot heat oil. Coat beef cubes with flour and fry in oil until browned on all sides. Remove meat from the pot and set aside. Add mushrooms and onions to the pan. Cook onions until tender.
Step 2: Add the beef back to the pot. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, beef broth and beer. Add potatoes and carrots. Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour.
Step 3: 
In a measuring cup mix together 1 table spoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water. Pour into the stew and stir. Simmer until the sauce has thickened. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
(Makes 6 Servings)

-Heads up, they say 6 servings, but I think that depends on who you are. It made so much that we froze  some, will definitely have enough for 10 servings or so. 

Browning the stew meat

The gratuitous pouring picture
All mixed in and ready to simmer!
Done... om nom nom!
Now that the weather has finally cooled down a little bit, it is definitely a good fall food. I highly recommend it :)

What a week

I apologize again for being gone. Grad school definitely kicked into high gear and yesterday my computer decided to stop working. Thank God we kept all our old laptops, netbook, etc, so I can still get work done. Also thank God for Dropbox! Best internet-related invention in my book!

I have several posts I want to write, but first gotta tackle today's to do list and tomorrow Matt & I are going to the Ft Worth Air Show. I'll try to update this as soon as I can, promise! :)

Have an AMAZING Friday!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Challenge #2- Pumpkin & Sausage Pasta Bake

Yes, I am still sticking to my Fall Cooking Challenge, despite my week break of social networking. I love cooking too much. And Matt & I have to eat, right?

So, when I initially saw this recipe, I was a little skeptical. Pumpkin is more for baked goods in my experience. But let me tell you- it was really good! Next time I'm going to half the amount of pasta. The recipe called for one pound, and I wasn't sure if that was dry or cooked. I'm assuming at this point it was cooked. Basically- do NOT cook 1 lb of pasta. Too much pasta so the sauce was too spread out. But otherwise, no complaints :)

The delicious pumpkin sauce
Notice the overflowing pasta
Yup, two casserole dishes worth
Baked and ready to eat! So good :)

Pumpkin & Sausage Pasta Bake
Source: I Was Born to Cook
1 pound Italian sausage
1 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried sage
pinch of salt
1/3 cup fat free half & half
1 pound penne pasta, cooked
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
3/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook sausage in a large, deep skillet until brown.  Remove from skillet and drain over paper towel.  Set aside.

Using approximately 2 tablespoons of fat from sausage, saute onion, garlic and crushed red pepper until soft.  Stir in pumpkin, stock and sage.  Add salt.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in half & half and sausage and simmer until sauce comes together and thickens slightly.  Turn off heat.  Add pasta and parsley and gently toss all ingredients together to coat.

Grease a casserole dish and place mixture inside.  Top with grated cheese.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until top is golden brown.

I'm back!

After my one-week hiatus, I'm back to social networking. I have a lot of school work to do before I let myself write some longer posts, but I wanted to let you know I'm alive, will still be blogging, and have several posts I know I need to write. 

Hope you all had a good week!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Challenge #1- Apple Crisp

Well, I personally think I've gotten off to a good start on my Fall Cooking Challenge. My husband totally agrees, which is also important. For the first dish, I made Skinny Taste's Cinnamon Apple Crisp

 This was the perfect fall dessert and when paired with some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream--- yum! The hardest part is peeling all those darn apples, but it is worth it. 

 Cinnamon Apple Crisp
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes

  • 5 medium apples, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 oz raisins (small box)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (half stick) butter, melted
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine apples, raisins, cinnamon, agave nectar 
and lemon juice in large bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch. Toss until fruit is coated. Place fruit in an ungreased baking dish.

Mix remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake about 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is tender.

Serve with a scoop of low fat ice cream or fat free frozen yogurt. Enjoy!!

First step- turn on Pandora to one of your favorite stations. Yes, that is Hercules "Zero to Hero"

Start peeling apples and then put in food processor to chop it for you

The filling in the pie pan

Making the topping. [BTW- action pictures ain't easy!]

Putting the filling on...

Ready to bake!

And a bit darker following baking
With the ever important ice cream--- sooo good!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How Pinteresting Wedndesday!

So sleepy... darn late night classes! Got a few papers to write in the next few days, so here are some cute things to get me motivated!

Linking up with The Vintage Apple for 
Find me on Pinterest here!
lol... t-rex love :)
So precious!
This is how I will be today, minus the scarf. Not that cold in Texas yet
Who doesn't like baby animal pictures?

Everyone have a great Wednesday!!